Azerbaijan is Guarantor of Georgia’s Independence: President Saakashvili
Turkey, Kars, 24 July / Trend corr. A.Aliyev/ Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili thinks Azerbaijan's support to his country as a guarantee to Georgia's independence. " Azerbaijan is a guarantor of Georgia's independence," Saakashvili said in Kars at the ceremony of foundation of the Turkish section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway on 24 July.
Saakashvili said Azerbaijan had always supported Georgia in its difficult times, mentioning Azerbaijan's gas supply to Georgia during an energy crisis in winter of 2005. "Georgian people will never forget that," said Saakashvili, adding that Azerbaijan-Georgia cooperation improves the two nations' welfare.
According to Saakashvili, owing to the political will of Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, all obstacles have been overcome and the sides are carrying out successful regional cooperation. Saakashvili particularly mentioned the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) gas pipeline among the most considerable aspects of cooperation. "The Baku - Tbilisi- Kars railway project is of special significance, he said. This is the continuation of our successful cooperation."
The Baku- Tbilisi-Kars project includes the construction of 105km-railway road with 76 km section running via Turkey and 29 km section via Georgia. Moreover, 183 km section of Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi railway will be also reconstructed to improve the carrying capacity to 15mln tons of cargo per year. Moreover, 183 km section of Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi railway will be reconstructed to improve the carrying capacity to 15mln tons of cargo per year. It is planned to build in Akhalkalaki a place for the transition of trains from the track existing in Georgia to the European one. The project is estimated to $422mln and taking into consideration the accompanying infrastructure its cost will comprise $600mln. The transport corridor is expected to be put into operation in 2011.